Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chinese New Year

I read somewhere that the exodus during Chinese New Year is the world's largest annual human migration.
Something the rest of the world have trouble understanding. But to us, it's as simple as "balik kampumg".
This year, I'm especially excited to say that we will be joining the madness.
It has been 2 years since my last trip back (solo- part business as I gave a few lectures). It has been 3 years since Kris and the girls went. And they have never been there for Chinese New Year.
This is important to me. After all, being 1/2 angmoh, being raised in midwest USA where it's pretty homogenous and largely Caucasian, one doesn't get the feel for CNY. You don't get the firecrackers, food, and red being plastered everywhere (except perhaps for Valentine's day). Yes, we've attended a few CNY dos in the local colleges, but it's hard to get into it when the lion dance troupe consists of white guys.
And so, it's important for me to have my girls (wife included) experience what was the major holiday for my family when I was growing up. To feel and indulge in the culture and crazy traditions I grew up with.
Things like the CNY eve dinner. The midnight prayers to welcome the various Gods, with the altar facing different directions every year. The early morning routine- getting up and getting changed into our CNY clothes, the greeting mom and dad and getting our angpows, then the temple, and the open house thereafter.
Getting together with my neighborhood pals- cycling from one house to the next. Having our blackjack and cho-tai-tee sessions, feeling like a big shot betting 25 cent wagers. And, who can forget the fireworks- the Moon Travellers in the early days, graduating to Thunderclap later on.
The lion dance. The irritating but yet comforting high-pitched CNY songs by those Chinese opera singers.
Yup, we will be knee-deep in all that madness. We will be making the 21-hour flight back in the coming days, and spending a few weeks there. My siblings, whom I have not seen for years, will be there too.
Year of the Rooster, here we come!
At a CNY party with Alli 4 years ago!

Friday, January 06, 2017

Just for laughs

Some scenarios from work:

Case 1:
Seeing a patient I've known for years with Kallmann syndrome and anosmia.
Me: "Do you have any sense of smell?"
Patient: "No. Why?"
Me: "Good. I just farted."

Case 2:
Me, teaching the resident physician about Addison's disease and hyperpigmentation (from the ACTH stimulation), and how to look for tan lines to distinguish between pathologic skin color changes versus from UV exposure.
Resident: "What if the patient uses a tanning bed in the nude?"

The right answer would have been to look at the buccal mucosa. Instead, what I told him: "You could spread the buttcheeks out a bit to see if the covered areas are hyperpigmented."

Resident: O_o

My nurses who knew I was kidding, just exploded.

And they say we can't have fun at work. 

Sunday, January 01, 2017


Happy New Year!
I can't believe how in a blink of the eye, a year's ended and another's begun.
2016 seemed to have been a bittersweet year. We've had many good memories, but also lost a good friend to illness, and my daughter broke her forearm (though thankfully in her usual manner bounced right back). Work had many challenges, with me many a times asking if I was on the right career path.
It'll be interesting to see what's in store for 2017. The younger one will be starting kindergarten (surreal!) and we'll be starting the year off with our trip to Malaysia, the first trip for the girls in 3 years. It's also the year I need to recertify for endocrinology- apparently I took my boards almost 10 years ago (!).
I'm also morbidly curious, and cautiously optimistic about the country under the presidency of a businessman bully- but until we give him a chance to do good, it's premature to judge. I'm also still and holding out for the goodness of man, the hope that good triumphs over evil- I'm afraid of what the next major terroristic event or genocide or slaughtering of fellow humans will entail, all done in the name of religion or politics or money. It seems like the news these days spread little cheer. And so, I'm hoping that 2017 will have more happy, inspiring events worldwide, and less selfishness and sadness.
Here's wishing you readers, wherever you might be and whoever you are, a happy, healthy year in 2017/